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MakhmuriaN [Interview]

26 min read

Hailing from Armenia, Arshavir Makhmuryan aka MakhmuriaN began his journey into electronic music as a DJ first, quickly becoming a fixture of Yerevan's vibrant nightlight and in turn sharing the stage with Alex Niggemann, D-Formation, Robert Babicz and Space Motion, amongst others. Arshavir's next step were to hone his production skills, eventually forming the Doperfect duo in 2017, before eventually moving forward under his distinctive MakhmuriaN moniker. With a sound that sits in the creative space between progressive and melodic house & techno, MakhmuriaN has showcased his music via Cafe De Anatolia, Somatique and his own Dialogue of Sounds imprint which acts as his primary home. Now, following his latest Dialogue of Sounds vehicle 'I'm in Love' to begin the year, MakhmuriaN adds Movement Limited to his resume with a two-track showcase entitled 'Golden Times'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with MakhmuriaN to learn more about the release of  'Golden Times' his background, nightlife in Armenia, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Arshavir, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hello Progressive Astronaut, thanks a lot for inviting me to the interview. My start of the year has been really exciting and filled with great professional opportunities. Something exciting happened to me today as I received an invitation from RKP to feature a set for their upcoming radio show.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not traveling, what does a day in your life look like?

My typical morning starts with a cup of coffee in my home studio. I usually spend some time exploring new releases, checking promotions, digging through tracks and working on my own tracks. After that, in the evening I prefer to spend some time in my city – Yerevan, using my free time to relax and chill.

What's a piece of music (not your own) from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

A track I always go to at the end of long day is Roy Rosenfeld’s “Kala”, something about this track, that brings internal relaxation, it’s amazing production all around, definitely one of my all the time favorites.

Looking back on 2023 what gigs of yours have stood out and why?

In 2023 live performances were limited and it was a year marked by a significant focus on production. This was also because of my country’s situation being in a state of war. But the start of 2024 has been really remarkable for me with my gigs as I had an opportunity to join Ruben Karapetyan on his Asia tour. Moreover, me and my friend Kiaro will join him during the upcoming showcase of Mango Alley on June 8th in Yerevan.

Tell us about growing up in Armenia, how did discovering electronic music there influence your music taste and direction? And who from your home country first inspired you and why?

When I was a child, in my country it was really difficult to find any ways to listen to music during the 90s. In truth, when I look back, I see that my interest in electronic music comes from my childhood when I used to listen to The Prodigy’s tracks. However, I began fully exploring electronic music after my time in the army, particularly when I heard Paul Van Dyk’s “Guardian” track for the first time. And the last influence on me which gave me a full image of the electronic music world was the film “Berlin Calling”.

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs in Armenia?

A memorable moment was the sense of liberation and freedom without a care in the world while immersing myself in that atmosphere for the first time. Meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and sharing a mutual interest and love for electronic music.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Armenia, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

If I were a nightlife tour-guide in my country, I would certainly lead you to the clubs like Fermata, The Office and also Kitchen Lab. These are the clubs that I would recommend in the first place. Regarding local DJs, there are a lot of talented DJs in Armenia such as Supacooks, Kiaro, Teom, Nick Gregory, Dairo, Leo Aniram, Kai and others.

You have a new EP entitled ‘Golden Times’ for Movement Limited which is out now, tell us about the release and what sort of vibe you were going for on these tracks.

Actually, this EP marks an exciting milestone for me as I made my debut on Movement Limited with it. Moreover, it was my first EP in 2024 so I was really excited about that. This EP had remarkable success, having a lot of support and feedback from a lot of famous artists such as Nick Warren, Ruben Karapetyan, Guy Mantzur, etc. Overall, “Golden Times” is a reflection of my musical journey and of the golden moments in life.

Which of the two originals on the release have gotten the most play in your sets and do you have special moments from playing either one of them?

Among the two tracks, it’s “Back to the Old School” that has been included in my sets the most. But that special moment is coming soon as I’m going to play both tracks in an upcoming showcase on October 26 in Yerevan which is the collaboration of Mango Alley and my project Dialogue Room.

This is your first appearance on Movement Recordings, what makes the label a good home for your music?

The label’s hospitality, professionalism, commitment to excellence and the opportunities they offer are truly remarkable. Their dedication to ensuring the success of each release is evident in the high-quality work they provide and the attention to every detail regarding the release.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically your ’Golden Times’ EP.

My home studio setup is pretty basic. I’ve got two monitors, a sound card, MIDI keyboard, and a couple of synthesizers. For “Back to the Old School”, I have been relying heavily on the Arturia PolyBrute to craft the leads and synths, while in “Boulevard de Paris” Behringer Neutron was mostly used.

As one of Armenia’s known DJs, you’ve had quite a lot of high profile gigs this past couple of years, playing alongside Alex Niggemann, D-Formation, Robert Babicz, Ruben Karapetyan, Space Motion, and more. Please tell us your approach to DJing, and how you go about programming a set.

Every DJ set is like a story. It starts with an intro, builds up, reaches a peak, slows down for a bit, then picks up again before ending. It’s a bit like a sinusoidal wave. And just like any good story, it’s got something to say. For me DJing it’s more than just mixing the tracks. Mixing the right tracks and smoothly and harmonically transitioning between them keeps the energy of the audience at a high level. DJing is a way to express myself and connect with others through music.

Now that you’ve been on the circuit for a while, how has DJing to larger crowds influence your view of music as a producer?

It’s changed a lot how I see music as a producer. Feeling the energy from a larger audience has made me more aware of what people really like. It’s inspired me to play music that speaks to a lot of people, not just myself bringing that energy and vibe to more listeners.

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

Besides the fact that every morning I start by checking my promo emails, at the same time, I listen to the new releases in the Progressive House genre on Beatport.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part? And how does feeling the crowd's energy affect your selections?

Since I always prepare the tracks for the gig beforehand and listen to them multiple times, I don’t need to stick to a specific order. Depending on the audience and people’s energy, I might change some things while playing.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

If I were to organize an event with my current favorite five artists, the line-up would certainly include Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Ruben Karapetyan, Guy J, Guy Mantzur. To be honest, bringing together such talented artists in one place and deciding a timeline for them would require much more time. So, I don’t think I can answer that part of the question right away. Let’s leave it to the moment when it becomes a reality.

Current top five tracks in your sets?

1. Ruben Karapetyan, Maze 28 – Cosmic Dot (Original Mix)
2. Kamilo Sanclemente – Theia (Original Mix)
3. ISMAIL.M , Redspace – Blanco (Original Mix)
4. TEELCO, Maze 28 – Kintsugi (Original Mix)
5. The Wash – Voyage (Evegrem & Leandro Murua Remix)

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

Well, I think you would find me practicing my other profession: psychology. This is my second profession that I specialized in last year graduating my master in it.

What’s something we do not know about you?

I think this would be the fact that I have three professions which are quite distinct from each other. Not a lot of people are aware of that and they’re getting really shocked when they hear about it. My first profession is cybernetic engineering which has actually helped me a lot in my DJing to understand better how the sound works and how I can make my own sound with synthesizers.

If you are not DJing, working on music or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

You will likely find me spending quality time with my family and friends. And as a kinoman, I prefer spending my time watching a good film, of course.

What are some of your favorite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

I would like to highlight these ones: “Mindhunter”, “White Collar”, “True Detective”, “Vinyl” and “The Gentlemen”.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Sure, besides music, spending time with my family and friends brings me a lot of happiness. There’s something special about sharing moments and creating memories together that really brightens my day.

What does the remainder of 2024 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

As I mentioned above, the start of this year was already quite remarkable for me and the rest is also going to be full of new opportunities. I’m especially looking forward to two upcoming showcases in Yerevan. One of them is a collaboration between my project Dialogue Room and Mango Alley and during both showcases I’ll be joining Ruben Karapetyan.

'Golden Times' is available now via Movement Limited: https://tinyurl.com/ymbjbewy

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